Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

NOAA Scientist Creates New Way to Track Carbon Pollution

Climate
NOAA Scientist Creates New Way to Track Carbon Pollution

By Daniel Grossman

A new air sampling device may help scientists better track carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Listen here or read below:

As countries around the world commit to reducing emissions, measuring their carbon pollution is critical to tracking progress. Pieter Tans is a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and he's invented a tool that might help.

The AirCore is a patented air sampling device that at first seems improbably simple: a steel tube—500 feet long and as thick as a chopstick—coiled up like a hose and sent into the stratosphere by helium balloon.

AirCore. Photo credit: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

At roughly a 100,000 feet, the balloon pops. Then a parachute deploys, slowing the AirCore's descent while it gathers samples from nearly every layer of the atmosphere.

"That's what AirCore does: we bring back the physical sample of a very long sliver of air all the way from nearly the very top of the atmosphere to the ground, and we put that through calibrated instruments," Tans said. "So we produce calibrated measurements."

Tans says it's this continuous air sample that makes AirCore more precise than satellites and ground-based instruments.

It's not yet ready for commercial use, but AirCore's simple design and accuracy may make it a more affordable and effective way to track global emissions of carbon dioxide.

Reporting credit: Justin Bull/ChavoBart Digital Media.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Interactive Map Sheds Light on Potential Impact of Paris Climate Agreement

Danger, Will Robinson: Oil Industry Knew CO2-Climate Link in '68

Consensus on Consensus: 97% of the World's Climate Scientists Say Humans Are Causing Climate Change

Greenland's Ice Melt Breaks Record, Starting Nearly Two Months Early

Mount Ili Lewotolok spews ash during a volcanic eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara on November 29, 2020. Joy Christian / AFP / Getty Images

A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Kaavan in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sept. 4, 2020. Arne Immanuel Bänsch / picture alliance via Getty Images

With help from music icon Cher, the "world's loneliest elephant" has found a new home and, hopefully, a new family.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Climate change is causing leaves to change color and fall earlier in the year. Pxfuel

By Philip James

As the days shorten and temperatures drop in the northern hemisphere, leaves begin to turn. We can enjoy glorious autumnal colors while the leaves are still on the trees and, later, kicking through a red, brown and gold carpet when out walking.

Read More Show Less
Kevin Russ / Moment / Getty Images

By Kang-Chun Cheng

Modoc County lies in the far northeast corner of California, and most of its 10,000 residents rely on cattle herding, logging, or government jobs for employment. Rodeos and 4-H programs fill most families' calendars; massive belt buckles, blue jeans, and cowboy hats are common attire. Modoc's niche brand of American individualism stems from a free-spirited cowboy culture that imbues the local ranching conflict with wild horses.

Read More Show Less
Christian Aslund / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Anne-Sophie Brändlin

COVID-19 and climate change have been two of the most pressing issues in 2020.

Read More Show Less